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New England Patriots: Predicting the Impact of Each 2014 Draft Pick

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New England Patriots: Predicting the Impact of Every 2014 Draft Pick

New England Patriots OTAs
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots hauled nine prospects out of the 2014 NFL Draft. While not all of these players will pan out as starters, chances are that at least a few of them will develop into contributors. But will any of the rookies make an impact in the 2014 season? That is the most pressing question surrounding this group as training camp approaches. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Patriots’ 2014 draft class will fare in 2014.

9. 1st Round (29): DE Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley New England Patriots
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

9. 1st Round (29): DE Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley New England Patriots
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While the injury history is definitely a concern, there is reason to believe that Easley will make an immediate impact in the Patriots’ front seven. The talented Florida product can be used in any spot on the defensive line. In a 3-4 scheme, he can be plugged on the outside opposite Chandler Jones, and in a 4-3 defense, he can pair-up with Vince Wilfork in the middle.

8. 2nd Round (62): QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo New England Patriots
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

8. 2nd Round (62): QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo New England Patriots
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that Ryan Mallett will remain in New England, so there are no guarantees that Garoppolo will assume backup quarterback responsibilities. In fact, the chances of Garoppolo doing much besides clipboard duty are very slim. Unless Garoppolo really stands out in camp, he won’t have much of an impact in his rookie season.

7. 4th Round (105): C Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork New England Patriots
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

7. 4th Round (105): C Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork New England Patriots
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Stork will be competing for the starting spot in training camp with veterans Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly, and he has a great chance to win the job. Bill Belichick has called Stork “our type of center,” so expect him to make a significant contribution to the offensive line throughout the season. The rookie knows what it takes to win, as he was a captain of Florida State’s championship team last season.

6. 4th Round (130): RB James White

James White New England Patriots
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

6. 4th Round (130): RB James White

James White New England Patriots
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

While he may not get many touches in September, White will have an expanded role if Ridley’s fumbling issues persist as the season progresses. Unlike Ridley, White is a very secure ball carrier; he fumbled only twice in 754 career rushing attempts in college.

5. 4th Round (140): OT Cameron Fleming

Cameron Fleming New England Patriots
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. 4th Round (140): OT Cameron Fleming

Cameron Fleming New England Patriots
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As it stands right now, Fleming is unlikely to see much playing time because he played exclusively right tackle in college, and the Patriots already have a stud at that position in Sebastian Vollmer. However, Fleming could force himself onto the field if he can display a high football IQ—he double majored in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford, so he has the mental capacity to excel in the Patriots complicated offensive scheme.

4. 6th Round (179): OG Jon Halapio

Jon Halapio New England Patriots
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4. 6th Round (179): OG Jon Halapio

Jon Halapio New England Patriots
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Of the three offensive linemen the Patriots took in the draft, Halapio has the steepest hill to climb in training camp. It’s far from a sure bet that he’ll make the 53-man roster. However, considering the amount of injuries that the typical NFL offensive line sustains over the course of a season, Halapio could make an impact as a depth player.

3. 6th Round (198): DE Zach Moore

Zach Moore New England Patriots
Twitter-MIke Shafer

3. 6th Round (198): DE Zach Moore

Zach Moore New England Patriots
Twitter-MIke Shafer

The Patriots love Moore’s size and athleticism, but his role will be minimal in 2014. Chandler Jones, Will Smith, Rob Ninkovich and Jake Bequette stand in Moore’s way, so barring any major injuries (and assuming Moore makes the team), the Concordia product won’t be much besides a safety net on the depth chart.

2. 6th Round (206): DB Jemea Thomas

Jemea Thomas New England Patriots
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

2. 6th Round (206): DB Jemea Thomas

Jemea Thomas New England Patriots
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike his fellow sixth-rounders, Thomas will carve out a significant role in 2014. His best attribute is versatility—he can return kicks, cover punts and play both corner and safety. Thomas specializes in the slot, so if he is able to nudge out Kyle Arrington in camp, he could see substantial time at that position. Or, he could add depth behind Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon at safety.

1. 7th Round (244): WR Jeremy Gallon

Jeremy Gallon New England Patriots
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. 7th Round (244): WR Jeremy Gallon

Jeremy Gallon New England Patriots
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A lot would have to happen for 5-foot-8 Gallon to reach the field in 2014. The Patriots already have Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman at the wide receiver position. There just isn’t much room for an inexperienced, undersized receiver, and unfortunately for Gallon, that will probably be made clear by the time final cuts are completed.